As proprietor of a family site (in the sense that my mum sometimes reads the blog), Baruch is unwilling to show the images of one of the apparently best-selling apps on the iPhone, “ASIAN BOOBS“. Yes, it is Asian soft porn, charming oriental ladies in bras and knickers, in uncomfortable poses; it’s not pictures of vaguely silly people from China. Of course, this gives the lie to Baruch’s contention that there is no porn on the iPhone platform.
Baruch would like to claim this app only exists because someone at Apple reads Ultimi Barbarorum. No such luck. Baruch’s scribblings on the banality of the iPhone’s walled garden might have forced the iPhone censor to respond in that inconsistent, atavistic manner of all pro “decency” censors through the ages, you would think, by allowing Asian Boobs onto the platform as a sop. But the app has apparently been a best seller for some time before Baruch wrote his post. Baruch fancies Apple have a group of blog flaks somewhere in Marketing whose job it is to influence commentary on prominent sites, or at least to report on Apple-related issues as reported in the blogosphere. The blog flak would take one look at Baruch’s traffic on some blog rating site or something and realise he didn’t have to bother.
(Don’t bother checking Asian Boobs out by the way; the app is rubbish. You don’t even get to see any nipples).
Meanwhile in another threat to Baruch’s Apple-as-victor thesis, as Dear Reader Cash Mundy points out in comments, the Android axis has been going great guns this week, with Android 2.0 launched, the announcement of a lovely Garmin-killing free navigation app from Google, and the launch of the new Motorola Droid (and a host of follow-on machines from other) to peans of praise from the techno-bloggers. Is this the point when the tide suddenly changed, the El Alamein of Apple’s global smartphone dominance?
Maybe. Who knows? I think Android is definitely likely to clean PALM’s clock, and possibly RIM’s too. But while it looks exciting and all, it also looks very fiddly. Do I want “widgets”? Whatever the hell they are. Do I want my phone constantly bleeping at me with the tweets of distant acquiantances I met once in a bar and don’t know how to tell to sod off, do I want Facebook offers of fricking virtual Bonsais and the latest appeal to stop dogs being used as shark bait force fed to me while I am in meetings or trying to play minesweeper? I suspect Android will be a mess; will all the apps work on all the different hardware configs of the thousand different manufacturers in the ecosystem? How will it work with the Verizon app store, the Vodafone store, the Google-hosted app store etc? Will it be as crap as Gmail (Baruch still has terrible problems using Gmail)? Will it actually have porn? And most importantly, will Google be able to pay it the consistent attention it deserves, outside of brief spurts of focus like we got this week? Prioritizing everything at the same time in one’s quest to organise the world’s information must be hard.
My current thinking is that Android manufacturers probably come to dominate the non-Apple part of the market, but probably don’t flatten the trajectory of iPhone adoption. Apple has many things it can do to step on the gas if it looks like someone is catching up: accelerate the end of operator exclusivity, create a portfolio of devices at different price points and/or, worst of all, decide to accept a lower gross margin, a merely impressive 50% rather than the quite astonishing 60% they are supposed to be getting, and cut price.
But let’s hope, as I said, that I’m wrong.